Amazingly enough, I got out of bed with enough time to exercise this morning---I am so very proud of myself. However, the piece of red velvet cake I ate a few minutes ago probably cancelled out the exercise benefit. Oh well, I'm trying. I was off from work today so I went for a scheduled hair appointment, then treated myself to a manicure/pedicure. Relaxation was much needed prior to a dreaded Wal-mart adventure. Does everyone dread going to Wal-mart as much as I do? It is just so crowded and people stand in the middle of the aisles with their carts, talking to one another while blocking everyone else and ignoring you as you stand by patiently waiting for 15 minutes until they graciously decide to move. This is how I envision Hell.
Tonight on American Idol, the show featured Jennifer Garner visiting a rural, Appalachian community within 30 miles of my home. The show was seeking donations for Save the Children. The area of Kentucky, in which I live, is often featured on news programs due to the abundance of poverty in the region. American Idol portrayed an accurate depiction of the area, but people of this community will inevitably be angered by the honest interpretation. People of Southeastern Kentucky, myself included, are proud and often focus on the positive aspects of the region, while ignoring the growing number of neighbors who are now living in poverty. I have lived in this part of the state throughout my life and it is a peculiar culture. You will drive by multiple poverty-stricken homes, which should probably be condemned, then come upon an 8000-10,000 square foot luxury home within a mile of the dilapidated homes. I am not sure this type of economic mix exists in other parts of the country. Providing healthcare in Appalachia has provided a rare opportunity to know & truly understand the magnitude of poverty which exists in my region. The most devastating lesson learned is that poverty often becomes an inevitable cycle in families. Sadly, on more than one occasion, I have encountered parents who want to allow their teenage daughters to quit high school (Please allow me to say this a rare occurrence, but this mindset does still exist in Eastern Kentucky). Their ambition is for the daughter to find a husband and have children. I have probably upset many parents, but I always try to be honest and tell the young girls that there is no guarantee that a husband will financially support his wife and children. Husbands can choose to leave. Women must be prepared to care and provide for themselves. An education, accompanied by financial independence, is a woman's finest asset.